Summer Camp Highlights

I made a summer camp highlight video so my piano parents can see what their kids learned at camp. I thought I would share it with all of you as well.

This year I wanted to really focus on performance skills. These included: Conducting, Accompanying, Performance, Technique and then some fun creating iBands.

I used the following resources for this camp…

Conducting Basics

Accompanying Basics

Rhythm ClapBacks 

Technique Trainer


Musical Words

iPad Ensembles (In addition to using a couple of these ensembles, I also had students improvise. In addition I used regular existing music from to create an iPad ensemble)

Wii Music (We used the Mii Maestro Game where they practiced their conducting skills. So fun!)

When I first was planning this camp, I wasn’t sure how well what I had planned would work with all ages. I have students as young as 5 participating and as old as 18years old. The first group that participated was my “hurry out of town” kids. Which meant it would be a mix of ages. It turns out the mixed ages group ended up being a real nice group as most fell in the ages between 8-12 years. The other sessions were either K-5th or 6th and up. So it worked out well. Then for my K-5th groups I adapted a little bit by adding a little more rhythm activities for them. All in all I’m super pleased with how this camp went!

I hope you enjoy the video!


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COMING SOON! A new incentive program that is unlike anything you have seen before! Stay tuned!

Free Music Conductor Coloring Page

I presented a brand new presentation on “Engaged Learning” this last Friday at the ASMTA conference. I will be posting about it soon. I gave lots of giveaways at the end of my presentation, but I couldn’t have my awesome followers miss out!

PLUS I noticed I’m really close to 900 followers on FB (thank you and welcome new followers!) so here is an early celebration freebie for some of your students to enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 8.25.59 AMOne of the things my students are learning at camp is how to conduct. So I wanted to make an easy supplemental activity for my younger students in piano camp and thought you might enjoy them as well. You can download the freebie here. (I made 3 different versions you can choose from)

Heads up! This summer I will be working on a brand new practice incentive program for next Fall. I’m super excited about the theme and can’t wait to show you some exciting things that students will be doing with this program! Stay tuned!


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Review: Piano Boot Camp- Special Ops

Do your students need a little kick in their playing skills? Are they getting lazy with their technique and practicing? Are they just feeling unmotivated to do their best? If you answered yes, to any of these questions, the solution is ahead…

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 9.46.46 AMLaura Lowe of The Piano Studio Blog, has developed a piano “boot camp” geared to students 5th-9th grade in at least level 2A or above. This camp will focus on technique, practicing and mental strategies.

The sessions work best with 2-3 students at a time. Only one piano is needed. The lesson plans are easily adaptable to use one-on-one as well. Camp session layout is for 5 days for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours each day. (Though you can easily take more time.)

I have to say when I looked through the camp, I immediately thought, darn it! I wish I would have known about this camp 6 months ago as the general ideas and planning are very similar to what I’ve been planning with my students this year. I could have saved a lot of time! But no worries, because you can bet I will still be using some of the ideas and resources with my students. A big part of what I wanted to do with my students this year was to improve technique and performance skills and Laura addresses these things (and more) each day.

I love the boot camp theme along the way. It immediately shows students that you have high expectations for them. Each day at camp students can expect an Entrance Activity (getting started for the day…), Physical Training, Technical Training, Practice Strategy and Practicum, Sight-Reading, Mental Strength and Artistry. Sum Up and Orders are included for the next day. The last day focuses on performance skills and ends with students performing for their parents.

When students begin Piano Boot Camp: Special Ops they will receive a student workbook… I enjoyed the introduction, “Welcome to the piano training that will kick your skills up a notch and turn you into a lean, mean piano-playing machine.”

The student workbook includes:

  • An agreement students will sign with expectations for the next 5 days.
  • PT for Pianists exercise descriptions
  • Survey the Terrain” sheet (A Repertoire Survey)
  • A schedule priority sheet
  • Practice Goals
  • Piano Rubric
  • Persistence Sheet
  • Dramatic Monologue
  • Fingering Principles
  • Develop a Can-Do Attitude
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Journal pages for each day
  • Inspiration page

In addition, a certificate of completion is available to give to students after their performances on the last day. You can find out more information about Piano Boot Camp: Special Ops including some sample pages in Laura’s Etsy shop here.

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2015 Summer Camp Plans

It’s that time of year! Time to prepare for summer! As most of you know I like to hold summer camp in my studio. It has created a win-win solution in my studio and allows both teacher and students a much needed break.

I’m really excited about our summer camp this year as I’m focusing a lot on performance. This is the flyer my families have received about camp…

2015 Summer CampI thought I would share a little more what we are doing in case you are looking for some ideas.

Years ago I did a conducting and accompanying basics camp. I decided it was time to revive this one so I’ve been putting the polishing touches on and am happy to announce that I just added Group Made Fun: Accompanying Basics in my store so it is now available along with Conducting Basics!

If you are doing a summer camp or workshop, I would highly recommend combing both Accompanying Basics and Conducting Basics in the camp as they both blend together quite nicely. To give you an added incentive to include both, I have discounted both of these Group Made Fun packets as a bundled price (Normally they are $12 each, but now $10 each) through the end of the month! You can view complete descriptions and some sample pages on each page. Click on pictures below.

Group Made Fun Accompanying Basics Cover Page

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.52.08 AM

Okay, back on track…

In Conducting Basics students will learn the basics of conducting (the file includes conducting posters), tips and tricks and of course lots of hands on experience. Do you have a Wii? Purchase Wii Music and use the Open Orchestra, found in the Jam Mode. Players will use the Wii Remote as a baton to conduct an orchestra. FUN!  I have a fun snack and craft in store as well for them. I always like to have some kind of snack and craft to break the camp up a bit.

In Accompanying Basics students will have hands on activities learning how to accompany soloists, choirs, stories/poems, instrumental and dance. They will learn page turning tips, the Be-Attitudes of Accompanying (includes teacher guide) and of course a fun craft and snack!


I wanted to do more because I really wanted to focus on ALL things performance. So we are going to really dive into Technique Secrets and making our Performances POP! Jackie Sharp’s new book, Technique Trainer (see recent review here) will come in really handy, especially her videos. We will be visiting Irina Gorin’s YouTube channel as well. If you subscribe to Piano Book Club, their recent book, My Piano Teacher Thinks She’s a Ninja will come in handy!

And then we will conclude the camp with iBand Ensembles! I did this years ago in a group lesson and have been wanting to bring it back! Susan Oglivy and Dennis Mauricio has created some fun iPad ensembles complete with background tracks! Check them out here. Students will be bringing in their iPads and Tablets. If they don’t have one, I have 3 available in the studio (actually 4 if my husband will lend me his).

If you had extra time, you can add Wendy Stevens Rhythm Cups (recently released Bk. 2!), create Boomwacker ensembles (check out this website with free boomwacker color coded songs) and more! (Tip: Always have more planned than you need) Performance Pizazz is what this camp is all about!

Happy Planning!

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Tech Tuesday: What’s new this week?

A few announcements you may or may not be aware happening online of that I thought I would share…

1) Daniel McFarlane has some exciting changes on his website!

  • Daniel recently announced that all his pieces are now studio licenses! What does this mean? You can use his pieces with all your students in YOUR studio (not to be shared with other teachers) FOREVER! I LOVE studio licenses! Visit his site here for more specifics.
  • Supersonics now has a rewards program. Check it out here.
  • Daniel McFarlane recently released a Groovy Beats Megapack! Pieces like “Funky Chicken”, “Walkin’ the Dog”, “Agent X”, “Jive Turkey” and “Walk on By” are groovy pieces not to be passed by. Check out the Groovy Beats Megapack options here.

2) video recordings are now available for those who missed some of the live sessions last week or if you purchased a replay pass. It’s not to late to purchase a replay pass by the way. The video’s are available through Dec. 31, 2015. I was able to view most live, but missed a few. There were some great presentation you won’t want to miss out on. I’m looking forward in watching the recordings for those I did miss. And the great part? You can watch them over and over until the end of the year. Click here for more info.

3) Becki Laurent will be giving a free JoyTunes webinar, “Make your desk PAPER FREE! Organizing the teacher’s life with apps!” Becki practices what she preaches and is a paper free teacher. So learn from the best on Wednesday, February 18th; 11:00am CST. Click here to RSVP on Google+. Yes, it will be recorded so if you can’t attend live you can catch the recording after.


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Free Webinar NOW Available to View- The Ins and Outs of Starting a Music Tech Lab


Thank you to those who were able to attend the webinar live! If you had any questions, please let me know. If you missed the webinar live or missed some of it- never fear! It is available to view here.

Click here to download the resource handout that corresponds with this webinar.

Don’t forget for today only you can download the iPad Assignment log for FREE here and purchase the Music Lab Workbook for 40% off here. (Remember the music lab workbook only covers software programs)

Free Webinar You Won’t Want to Miss!

JoyTunes is hosting a FREE webinar this Wednesday that I will be presenting! When thinking about a subject for the webinar, I thought teachers might enjoy learning a bit more about starting a music tech lab in your studios. I have had a tech lab for almost 20 years now and it has been a huge benefit in my studio. And what better way to take advantage of the Piano Maestro app than having a lab students can go to before or after their lessons.

In this presentation I will be going through the Ins and Outs of Starting a Music Tech Lab. We will start with what you will want, need or consider having in your lab, go through some scheduling options and resources on what to use during lab time.

If there is anything specific you are hoping to hear during the webinar, please leave a comment below and I will do my best including it.

Because this will be done on Google+ you won’t need to register. Just RSVP so you don’t forget to attend! And if for some reason you can’t attend, it will be recorded so you can view it later. Though one of the benefits of attending live is being able to ask questions after I’m done. Click the picture above or here to RSVP.

Hope to see you Wednesday morning. Be sure to set your alarms! Don’t worry about getting dressed, you can stay in your p.j’s. I won’t see you… 😉

Oh and just a little heads up tip… you will also want to follow me on TpT by Wednesday… Click here to follow.